Customer service teams are supposed to solve problems, not create new ones. But when we surveyed 5,500 consumers around the globe, only 25% reported feeling that that front-line employees were on their side.

In other words, it’s not often that service reps make a positive emotional connection with their customers. Instead, they frequently engage in behaviors like these that damage customer relationships:

  • Using scripted or canned responses
  • Engaging in rude or indifferent behavior
  • Showing no concern for the customer’s problem
  • Transferring calls multiple times and putting customers on long holds
  • Talking to customers about things other than the problem they are trying to solve

The consequences of engaging in just one of these behaviors can be devastating: 50% of U.S. respondents said they’d be “somewhat” to “very” likely to defect to a customer after a single bad experience.

But there are simple ways to address the underlying interpersonal behaviors that can improve the customer experience. Take, for example, what happened with one global company that offers a cloud-based communications and collaboration platform.

A New Customer Experience Strategy

Clients expect this company to keep its communications platform running around the clock and to be able to troubleshoot problems. But with a surge in cloud computing came a massive influx of customers. The company’s customer support team began struggling to handle the additional volume of service calls. Instead of offering a quick fix and then looking for a longer-term solution, reps facing a growing backlog of customer complaints seized upon the first, most convenient solution to a customer’s problem, then moved on to the next issue.

Customers started complaining that the company’s customer service team was working around issues and not driving to the heart of problems. Instead of resolving crises, service reps created new issues during customer calls. So, when the company’s Net Promoter Score (NPS) dropped precipitously, it was time to seek outside help to improve the customer experience.

The company, recognizing that its customer support team needed a methodology to guide its service reps in acknowledging and solving customers’ problems, turned to Miller Heiman Group for help with its customer experience quandary. Miller Heiman Group developed a three-part strategy, with pre-work, instructor-led classroom training and continuing reinforcement exercises and delivered two courses: Service Ready for Technical Support and Diagnostic Troubleshooting.

The company chose Service Ready for Technical Support because it covers a range of critical skills essential to meeting and exceeding customer expectations. Here’s a partial list of the skills that the company’s service team learned:

  • Building rapport
  • Considering your service from your customer’s perspective
  • Projecting confidence in written, verbal and nonverbal communication
  • Bringing the customer in as a business partner in the resolution of their issues
  • Sharing the right information with customers
  • Interrupting and refocusing conversations
  • Setting customer expectations
  • Negotiating solutions that secure customer satisfaction
  • Offering alternative solutions and saying no gracefully
  • Defusing emotional situations and calming upset customers
  • Maintaining a great attitude
  • Bouncing back from challenging situations

Diagnostic Troubleshooting gave the company’s customer service team a clear, logical system, enabling them to solve customers’ problems faster. Attendees learned to follow the Diagnostic Troubleshooting methodology, which consists of six steps:

  1. Verify the problem
  2. Define the problem
  3. Isolate the problem
  4. Identify the cause
  5. Justify the solution
  6. Resolve the problem

All customer support professionals and their managers completed the training to ensure a consistent approach to customer issues.

The Impact of Customer Experience Training

Since implementing Service Ready training, the company’s turnaround has been remarkable. Customers have given the company feedback that their team is now completely satisfying their requests. And check out the gains in the company’s key customer experience metrics:

  • Improved NPS by 14 percentage points
  • Increased customer satisfaction scores significantly
  • Reduced the time it takes service engineers to solve customer issues by more than 50%
  • Reduced the customer support team’s backlog of customer issues by 21%

By learning how to get to the root of the customer’s problem instead of just identifying the quickest, easiest way to resolve an issue, the company now has fewer repeat requests and more loyal customers.

To learn more about how our Service Ready training can improve your customer experience strategy—and your sales results—get in touch.

 

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